mark winn: everywhere a story

Krista and I were married on Saturday! Right now we are in Napa Valley on our honeymoon, enjoying the fruit of the vine and the beautiful scenery. My bride was radiant, and I will make my best effort to describe that beautiful day when we return next week. It was perfect in every way, and God was glorified. We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from every family member and friend. We were especially blessed by our parents and their support and love.

During the reception following our wedding on Saturday, we showed a video of old family pictures and I couldn’t help but think about how I wished my cousin Mark would have been there. We lost him a year ago today to a motorcycle accident. If you knew Mark, you have a story with him. Everywhere he went there were stories taking shape. That’s what made him so enjoyable to be around.

There is one particular story that has lived on since Mark and I were kids. It has been retold countless times at family gatherings over the years. Krista suggested that this story would be a great way to remember him today, on the anniversary of his passing from life to death to Life.

We didn’t set out on that summer day to find a machete. It just happened. We were probably only ten or eleven years old at the time, which is plenty old enough to know how to use a tool of that magitude, yet not old enough to know how much trouble we could get into with it.

The machete was buried just under the surface of the dirt right beside a creek that ran behind my house. We were always drawn to that area for play because of the plentiful supply of mud in that area. For a 10 year old, mud is like duct tape. You can do anything with it. However, on one particular day, we had no interest in mud once we stumbled upon the rusty, dull machete. Our thoughts went from, “Should we bury our sisters’ Barbie dolls in the mud?” to “Should we level the entire neighborhood?”

We decided that we might get in trouble for cutting down anything taller than 10 feet, so any plant shorter than that was fair game. The first thing we came to was a grove of plants that I’ve always referred to as “banana trees”. They were perfect for our mission. The leaves were thin and crisp, allowing the machete to slice through them like pudding. I can tell you with confidence that God put those plants there for this very moment. The problem was that he put those plants in my neighbor’s yard. We refused to allow that to dissuade us. In fact, I don’t think it ever came to mind. For all we knew, we were battling aliens on planet Zortox.

It only took us about three or four minutes to eliminate the entire crop, and about 12 seconds after that to snap back into reality and plan our escape from the wrath of our neighbor. Our plan for escape was simple: drop the machete where we stood and run back into my house and sit on the couch as if we were waiting for Christmas to arrive.

The spanking that ensued will live on in my memory forever, but Mark and I always said that it was worth every swat.

In fact, every swat we took because of our mischeif was worth it, for it was another story that we have to remind us that Mark lives on and so will we.

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